January 11, 2010
Utopia Forecast, Nothing Medieval Historical
Written just after the Great War (WWI), the author, as part of his ongoing series on how society ails and must be regenerated, predicts that the only possible way to live sanely is in "Walled Towns." These communities are relatively closed to the outside, willfully anti-technological, and communal but not communistic (Bolshevism being one of the barbarisms of his age). They are based on Cram's fantasy of what the medieval city was like, down to him thinking actual knights rode off all armoured and alone on Quests like they do in Arthurian or Carlovingian tales, and that ordinary houses were covered in painted and gold-leafed carvings.
An interesting book for a 1919 view of the future, his theories of rising and falling waves of development (better set out in prior books and merely assumed here), and what the period held valuable or hateful. He may have been right that the year 2000 was going to be a societal watershed, but he would have hated the way it came out. One wonders if this book in any way influenced any 20th C developments, or if simply stands as an interesting relic of an individual idea that never went beyond its pages.
In some ways this may be likened to some early science fiction, like *Looking Backwards.* This is better as, rather than pretending to be fiction that might have a plot or tension, Cram baldly just takes us on a tour of his imagined anti-industrial community of the future, no pretense about it.